Kokrajhar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday assured the people of Assam that there would be no infiltration into the state following implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.
The prime minister was speaking at a massive gathering in Kokrajhar, his first visit to Assam after the violent CAA protests that had rocked the state in December last year soon after the Citizenship Bill was cleared by Parliament.
“Rumours are being spread that because of CAA there will be lot of people coming into Assam and Northeast from outside, and settle here. I would like to assure the people of Assam that nothing of this sort is going to happen,” Modi said addressing a gathering of over lakhs in Kokrajhar, Assam.
He was attending the celebrations organsied post the signing of the Bodo Peace Accord. The Accord was signed in New Delhi on January 27 between the Centre, state and stakeholders of the Bodoland movement.
On safeguarding and protecting the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam, Modi said his government would implement provisions under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord as soon as the report by the exper panel is submitted.
A 14-member expert committee was been set up by the Home Ministry in July 2019. The committee is scheduled to submit its report by February 15.
Talking about the Bodo Peace Accord, the prime minister said, “The Bodo Accord was a way for permanent peace, a new beginning for the region.” He said that with the signing of the agreement, all the demands of the Bodos have been met and now, the way ahead is towards prosperity. The Bodo peace accord is a new chapter in new India and the beginning of a new era for the northeast, which signifies the end of decades-old violence and ushers the path of development in the region.
Further, he hailed steps taken by the state government for the preservation of Bodo language and culture. The Bodo language, with Devanagari script, has also become the official language of Assam.
As part of the Accord, a financial package of Rs 1,500 for three years has also been announced, wherein per year, both state and Centre would contribute Rs 250 crore each.
The PM surely struck a chord with every Assamese when he said that he has a special connect with Bharat Ratna late Dr Bhupen Hazarika. He pointed at the fact that late Dr Hazarika is the “son-in-law of Gujarat”, as his wife late Priyamvada Patel, was the granddaughter of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron man of India.
PM Modi even recited a few lines from one of Dr Hazarika’s famous songs.
Sticking to his customary style of speaking in the local language or dialect, prime minister Modi began his address by greeting the huge crowd in Bodo language. He said, “Kulumbai, nwngtangmwnha mabwrwi dong”. (Namaskar, how are you?). He even mentioned the traditional attire of the Bodos — Aronai (scarf) and Dokhona (wrap around worn by the women folk.
Speaking on how in the past, issues of Northeast were ignored; Modi said that today, the Centre is resolute on addressing all of its issues, and the situation is becoming normal and peaceful. Also, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 which was imposed almost across the region has now been revoked from most regions of Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
PM Modi did not miss the opportunity to take a dig at Rahul Gandhi’s ‘danda (stick)’ remark in Parliament, Modi said that when he has the protective shield of blessings of the mothers and sisters of the country, then no one can harm him.
Here is what the local leaders said:
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “People of Assam will never forget the initiatives taken by PM Modi and his government for Assam and Northeast.” He added that after 2014, when BJP came to power at the Centre, “the world now knows about Northeast.”
State finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma too expressed gratitude to PM Modi for his government’s untiring efforts for establishing permanent peace in Assam and in the region. Further, he renewed invitation to ULFA (I), a banned militant organisation from Assam to come and join the peace talks.
BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary welcoming the newfound peace said that now the region is arms free. Hailing BJP, he said that they will form government in Assam again in 2021.
Pramod Bodo, ABSU president said that signing of the Bodo Peace Accord is the dawn of a new era for Bodos, the people of Assam and the region.